The Window and the World: On Joshua Sperling’s “A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Work of John Berger”

Seeing also formed the method for his essays, where he often describes an act of seeing and the thoughts that arose from it. The revolution had to be lived all the way down. Produced in 1972, it was a throwback to the combative John Berger of The New Statesman’s art pages. He wrote novels. He

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The Evolution of Meaning: Adrian Piper and Victor Hugo at the Hammer Museum

Near the end of the exhibition is a series of large paintings of words in the process of erasure on large chalkboards. Victor Hugo, Planète (Planet), ca. Brown ink, brown and black wash, graphite, charcoal, and white gouache on paper. Research Archive Foundation Berlin. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin. His is an art

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Eclipse Expeditions

For it is not for her own literary works that Mabel Loomis Todd is known. Indeed, there’s barely a mention of Susan in Todd’s 1894 Letters of Emily Dickinson because Todd took great pains to remove her name — literally, physically — wherever it was mentioned. She started a diary in 1866 when she was

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A Faux-Muslim Mission

The story takes a few unjustifiable turns and the power of its ambiguity dissipates into a mesh of clever tricks. In fact, the book’s tactful references to Qur’anic passages are so impressive that a few glitches here and there cannot be held against it. Ultimately, in its fascination with, and disregard for, foreignness, John Wray’s

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De-Nazifying the “DSM”: On “Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna”

But for over a decade in the 1950s and after, that sense of gratitude curdled. It was within this context and working within established child welfare services that Hans Asperger made his career. After the war, there were a few feeble attempts at a reckoning. In the years that followed, he became a compliant and

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“The Most Exhilarating Moments of His Life”: On Charles Sprawson’s “Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero”

Whether recounting that in the Roman era “fish were pampered and often cherished more than human beings,” or that in the Elizabethan age “frogs were kept in tubs by the sides of pools as a means of instruction,” moments of calmly delivered humor reveal much about the author who puts them before us. have seemingly

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“Shimmering Bits of Thought”: Gail Wronsky’s “Imperfect Pastorals”

Almost an image for a poem! The Argentine César Aira is another writer making an appearance in the poems whose work is based on surrealist subject matter. What could be more unbreakable? Will the natural world and its jarring beauties offer a reprieve from despair? Echoing Shakespeare in Richard II (in the poem “Pitch-Pines or

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The Future, Revisited: “The Mother of All Demos” at 50

He explains: The scale of change [on the tool side was] going to increase by huge factors in the coming decades. In a 1995 interview for JCN Profiles entitled “Visionary Leaders of the Information Age,” Engelbart argues that, while tech (which he calls “the tool system”) has advanced beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, “the human system”

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Biblical Paraphrase and Hummus: Conversation with Dror Burstein on “Muck”

To flesh out a vision of Jeremiah is to animate a person’s suffering, on some level. But generally speaking, literature as an industry needs rethinking. I hope not! I once heard you say at the World Voices Festival, “We all know poetry is the only thing worth writing.” Well, novels are necessary: you can’t express everything

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Eisenstein versus Sinclair: H. W. L. Dana and “¡Que Viva México!”

“It is true,” acknowledged the review, “that the picture is absurdly abrupt in the closing interludes, but for fully three-quarters of its length it shows Eisenstein, the stylist, at his best.” [15] Eisenstein’s friends and communist activists in the United States aggressively protested Thunder Over Mexico. The filmmaker, he thought, should return to the Soviet

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Modest Witnesses

In one case, a theory or total worldview is explained through a rhetorical flourish. Since then, he has come to lean on studies like Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer’s Leviathan and the Air-Pump, which offer histories of empirical knowledge through philosophical and scientific texts. They learned to relate the exotic and the outlandish as though

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“When We Were Young”: On Jeanne McCulloch’s “All Happy Families”

Without giving away the book’s most powerful moments, McCulloch’s father’s drinking was responsible for the dissolution of her parent’s marriage, and would be responsible, in great part, for his dramatic early death. I can certainly report that McCulloch’s descriptions ring true to time and place, but I did not know what was playing out behind

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